The role of social support in families coping with childhood brain tumor.
Previous studies suggest that support from social networks is a protective factor buffering the negative effects of stressful events, such as having a child with a chronic illness. The literature highlights the need for more systematic examination of parents' social support networks across the disease trajectory, to obtain a more complete understanding of how a family's support system affects adjustment over time. This was attempted in this study of 88 parents of children with brain tumors, recruited from hospitals in Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand. It employed a longitudinal design, tracking families for 2 years postdiagnosis to examine the relationship between social support and coping. As in previous research this study showed that different types of support are needed at different stages in the illness trajectory. The study also identified the use of various coping strategies by families, directed at the maintenance and enhancement of existing supports and the securing of new supports. The study failed to establish a statistically significant relationship between level of coping and social support, however, suggesting that parents were using primarily "internal" familial modes of coping, including preexisting patterns of coping, with external social support being an adjunct to their coping rather than being a major contributor.
Jackson, AC; Enderby, K; O'Toole, M; Thomas, SA; Ashley, D; Rosenfeld, JV; Simos, E; Tokatlian, N; Gedye, R
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